tv Washington Journal CSPAN February 25, 2010 7:00am-10:00am EST
[captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2010] host: in three hours the president, vice-president, hhs secretary and congressional leadership and key members will gather in a room at 1551 pennsylvania avenue, better known as blair house, and will focus on the policies and politics all morning. you can watch the proceedings live as they happen without
commentary on c-span3, and on our website at c-span.org. you can also listen to it live on c-span radio here in washington and nationwide on xm channel 132. the president putting forth his ideas on monday. the republicans putting forth their counter offer. what needs to be reformed? who has the best ideas? what does it mean for your health care plan and for those without insurance, what impact does it have for you? this is the room where they will be meeting. this was taped earlier. it is called the garden room, it was added during the reagan administration through funding from annenberg family and nancy
reagan. the president will be seated directly behind the fireplace, as you can see. there will be a rectangular table. here is a look at some of the headlines from the washington publications beginning with politico. "the hill" newspaper -- "roll-call" -- and "usa today" -- can compromise be reached in this setting? guest: i don't think so. if you look at the history of genuine bipartisan successful summit, each had two elements you don't see today. a sense of impending doom shared by both parties behind closed
doors behind which they can negotiate. host: why did the cameras affects -- affect the dynamic? guest: if you were really going to negotiate some sun -- kind of compromise, you have to make concessions. it is an awful lot easier to do that behind a closed door. ok you can get a feel of what the other side might be interested in. if you make a concession public first, you are going to and read your own constituency and the other side might slap you down, and you lost twice. there is a real incentive not to do that. çhost: let me ask you about two examples you point out. back in 1987 but senator bob dole, and 1990, president george herbert walker bush, as he had -- tried to -- compromise on a budget agreement. what impact did it have on their
political careers? guest: you could make the argument impact was not good for either. bob dole game -- came across as a pragmatic guy who could do a deal with the democrats and that may very well have caused -- cost him the republican nomination. george h. w. bush made the çfamous pledge about read my lips, and with that but to deal with the democrats in 1990, taxes were raised and that led to a great deal of disenchantment among republicans with him and he lost the election. host: why did this summer, about? what is behind it? guest: an interesting question. i think the point the president is trying to get across is is essentially to call the republicans' bluff. do you have a good program? is there something you can offer to the american people what specifics? or are you going to be
obstinate? but they may be calling his bluff, too. host: how s? guest: if they show they have a plan, are you going to extend your hand toward us? he sort of suggested he would be happy to if there were some good ideas. maybe they will try to offer good ideas. host: they will be meeting in blair house, in this room. this is from a documentary on our website. the negotiations came down to everything including the table. guest: othe idea of a summit asa meetingç of two sides goes back to the 1950's and the soviet meetings. this was handled with at least as much attention to the sort of minor detail and wariness about one upmanship like an old-
fashioned cold war summit. it reminds me a little bit, for your older viewers, of the paris peace talks in the early 1970's, a long-running debate about the shape of the table. but they reached an agreement. there will be an open square table. the president is not going to be on a podium. people will not be looking up at him. they actually haveç hammered tt out. host: that was a direct aftermath of the meeting in baltimore. guest: i think the might -- white house felt it was very successful for obama and they wanted to have something similar. this time, of course, he has to share the democratic side with nancy pelosi and harry reid and about 20 of the democratic members of congress. it kind of the daniel and the
lion's den aspect of baltimore -- dilutes the daniel in the lions' den aspect. one story points out the president will use the bipartisan summit to push for sweeping health-care legislation, but if that failed to generate enough support the white house has prepared the outlines of a more modest plan, a plan that would be more acceptable to conservative and moderate democrats but would draw the ire of the liberals in the democratic party. what is going on? guest: i think the calculation is you could have the ire of the liberals, but what they backed away at the last minute -- would they back away at the last minute? in some ways, i think this summit is more about bridging the gaps among the democrats then really about reaching out to republicans. there is a sense that obama is
using this to kind of crowd the democrats. host: will it work? guest: it will be fascinating to see. the american people have a pretty good nose for political bologna, and if there is that from either side -- either side can lows by appearing not to take this seriously. -- either side can lose by appearing not to take this seriously. host of this correspondent judy -- host: this correspondence -- thank you. the session will be divided into fear -- four parts. the first session focusing on controlling health-care costs.
then of course with the remarks by the president. and then insurance reforms. we heard from hgh as a secretary, specifically but the california insurance co. raising its rates -- h h s secretary, specifically about the california insurance companies. and then expanding health-care coverage. areas of topic. live coverage on c-span3, on line at c-span.org and you can listen on c-span ready. well today work? brian is joining us from michigan. welcome to the program. caller: the essential thing people have to remember -- corporations have nine their bodies to be punished more souls to be condemned and they do what they please. this says it in a nut shell. we had 30 years or 40 years of abuse from insurance companies and hospitals and doctors, too.
what came first, chicken and egg? i think of use of insurance companies by hospitals and doctors started before the higher rates in the. i have been part of the single payer system since 1969. i think it works really good. i don't know about the public option. i think that might work. the republicans have to quit dragging their feet. 290 bill stalled in the senate. host: let us go to the republican line, robert from waterford, virginia. caller: good morning, i wanted to talk about the summit today. in my estimation, it seems that the republicans are just there for window dressing. i agree with your speaker today that the summit today is to bridge the gap between various democrats. i am sure you remember it well
this bill barely went through. in fact, the more liberal version barely got through the house. and yesterday, ruth marcus wrote a great column about this in "the washington post. john murtha has died, congressman waxer did -- resign, bart stupak group is still left to dry, and was just pointed out, there are a lot of people on the left, the extreme left, who are not satisfied with any compromise. host: a story this morning inside " the new york times." preparing in great detail for the health debate in the tv audience. a couple of points that they may --
norman is joining us from kansas. good morning. what do you think? caller: i appreciate c-span. the first caller was basically what i had to say. the problem with health care, the hmo and insurance companies control the doctors. the hospitals could only do what they can do but the doctors are limited by their hmo and insurance companies. they have a certain amount of time to see each patient, and each patient they have another malady, they have to come back
for another appointment. doctors have six minutes and therefore they cannot treat any more. they just do what hmos and insurance companies tell them to do. neither party is addressing the issue. they are working around it. the fact that continue to talk about malpractice -- i am in kansas and a reduced the malpractice, my wife died two years ago and the amount of bills that we had came close to that amount and my attorney dropped me because there was no profit left in that. so the fact that they continue to talk about malpractice is a small portion of your health care costs. the health care is directed and controlled by hmos and insurance companies and they are not going to change unless both parties get together and work on the band. -- and work with them. they control america, and america will not be --
republicans talk about cutting taxes. i live in kansas and we are broke and they continue to talk about cutting taxes. host: under governor was the hhs secretary. caller: she tried and tried. when you look back, ronald reagan broke california and then the united states and the republicans continue to talk about cut taxes. you can't cut taxes and continue to have services. our problem in america is no one will listen. host: thank you for the call and sorry about your own personal loss. richard is joining us from lexington, massachusetts, independent line. caller: thank you for c-span. being an independent, i hope the democrats and republicans find a solution because the country needs it and it needs to move on from this issue and focus on jobs. own. i just hope for both parties that they come to an amicable solutionçççi] toç resolve te once and forççç all.
çççó on c-n radio can with your iphone app listen on your ipod -- the address for the radius station is 91.1 fm in washington. keefe, virginia. the caller: thank you, c-span. i just think with the help summit and the proposal the white house came out a couple of days ago, it is a solid bill that no one can truly disagree with. it covers fraud and waste. it exempts the cadillac plans. it proves obama was not trying to go after the public option but it covers the doughnut hole and pretty much it is setting congress up to transform this be billed to an a. host: specter says 51 votes enough. the pennsylvania senator saying he will support a parliamentary maneuver to push a revised
health care bill through the senate, a step the says would be a colossal mistake last year. 90 and 22 other democratic senators have signed a letter urging majority leader harry reid did bring health care changes to a vote under budget reconciliation rules. that approach allows bills to pass with a simple majority of 51 votes instead of the 60 it takes to cut off a filibuster in the senate. specter, of course, a former republican and now a democrat. mathieu is joining us on the republican line from michigan. caller: i am in bart stupak's district and i have three points. the first one is a short story. a person i know of who lost their job and cannot afford a cobra coverage and fell off a snow machine and broke her leg. she had to go in and was sick about it and had no insurance. it was a bad break. she needed some pins and a couple of plays. she would not even stay overnight because she knew the
ridiculous costs and charges. the bill came to $24,000 to set a broken leg even for a few hours. there was no insurance company involved with that. the charges of medical care is ridiculous and that is what they should be addressing. secondly, i would like to say, even if the democrats use the nuclear option and the senate -- why don't we call it the nuclear option in the press any more? it was always of the nuclear option when republicans were considered. it would not make a difference because as my congressman and another group have shown in the past, there is no way of it will pass the house with this federal funding for abortion that obama and the progressives, who are the ones who have stalled this -- if you look at it, obama was the most liberal senator in the senate when he was in there and nancy pelosi, a progressive, you've got about 30% of
progressives inside the democratic party that are so liberal that most people just cannot stomach them and they are the ones who are blocking everything. this could have been passed if they would not have insisted on federal funding for abortion. host: one of our regular viewers says -- online at c-span.org and a radio address is c-spanradio.org. below the fold -- this story points out republicans are crying foul. janice is joining us from florida on the independent line. caller: good morning. i'm old enough to remember when doctors did house visits before
the government got involved and medicare started. i'm old enough to remember that. as far as i'm concerned, i think the bogyman is the government. i really hope they don't pass this bill. it is terrible. as far as the summit, i think it is just for show. i think the democrats are kind of worried. i don't blame them. they have enough senators and they have an of representatives to pass this last year, and they are afraid to do it alone. they don't want to make it look like -- they want to make it look like they're getting help. i hope republicans don't cave. if i were them i would boycott it and i would not go because i think it is just for show. that is about it. i did not think it has substantive value and it will be the worst thing to happen to this country if they pass it. all i have to say. host: we will take more of your calls and our twitter page is twitter.com/c-spanwj or send an e-mail, firstname.lastname@example.org.
during the breaks there will be a chance for you to weigh in on c-span radio or live coverage on c-span3 review phone calls. in political terms, they say we approve this message but i think you will find on interest -- of interest. it is on youtube. how one person describes the way c-span will be promoting today's health care summit. >> it is an unprecedented political mega-event, a key actor in the struggle for reform and it is ours. even before the health care summit begins, check out already won. c-span.org -- this is our moment, our time. after a speech by that of the secretary-general for the minister of stairs and a filibuster for department nominates, it is barack obama live -- pay as you go pelosi, john boehner, the blaminator and
mitch mcconnell. c-span.org, how be like us now, c-span2. this is not pay-per-view, we are already on the cable dial, you just never watch. multiple camera angles. we cover the reading room. six hours of people sitting around arguing into microphones. people sitting around arguing into microphones is what we do all day long. history, thursday, c-span.org. host: of course, this is what their real c-span.org ups -- it website looks like. and following that twitter comments from members of congress. and it is all part of our health care hub that has been chronicling the debates. j., republican line, good morning. caller: i think that the president's plan would be a huge and perhaps irreversible mistake
for a country. we need to find a private solution. we have a government run medicare program that has $40 trillion in unfunded liability. we will try to add 30 million people to the health care system to care for. it has to drive up prices. we need to increase the number of doctors that are out there and perhaps make the insurance companies who provide health care also cover the liability for those procedures so part- time doctors, doctors who are getting ready to retire debt economically continue to practice. we need to increase the amount of health care and not increase the amount of health care insurance. host: kathleen sibelius and a senior adviser to president have tended this copperhead -- sebelius.
everybody is the fact that we have a for-profit health care system our health care costs us -- for-profit health care system. our health care costs us twice as much as anyone else and the planet. this is all rhetoric. nothing is going to pass that will make any meaningful changes. all we have to do is look at what works and other countries and how their health care system functions. we don't have to reinvent the wheel. if they were really trying to address this problem, they would go to a single payer system. it would be run by the government and it would work. but they don't want it to work because there is so much money involved in the health-care industry. they are spending over a million dollars a day to lobby to make sure that nothing happens, that nothing gets changed. host: congressman michael burgess, a republican from texas, will join us and later from colorado, a democrat will
be with us. one of you were saying they are not changing nothing in the bill, just adding more pork. don't fool yourselves. both parties are the same. ftwo other stories. front-page below the fold in "the wall street journal." if you have been following this story, they write that greece started it off and spain will determine whether the currency stands or falls. there is also a related on the front page above the fold in " the new york times." the story points out --
more this morning the front page and inside "the new york times." back to your calls on health care. ruth is joining us from jacksonville, florida. independent line. caller: how are you this morning? everyone has health care -- if you go to the emergency room there is an unfunded federal mandate everyone get treated, so the hospital has to make money so they charge more to people
that have insurance so they can make up for their loss. the insurance company charges the consumer more to make up for their loss, so it is all passed along to the people who have a free medical care. we are not addressing the problem of medicaid, which is the free. everybody wants free, but nobody wants to pay. it is like -- people just don't understand that, you know, you have to have someone pay for it. so i guess they want to make the taxpayers. and of course, the other thing that upsets me is the union concessions that are in of the president's new things are still there, the $10 billion for the uaw and the cadillac health plans, they are still there, they are not going to have to pay taxes on those until, i think they said 2018 when it
kicks in. in other words, the taxpayer is going to be carrying the load for the people who don't have to pay anything for the health care and we will be carrying the unions. people don't seem to understand that someone has to pay, and it is the taxpayer. host: gary duncan what does twitter commented -- bob beckel on the left and cal thomas on the right have penned this editorial inside "usa today." what if we had a clean slate on health care? they agreed -- start from scratch, agree on key principle to help fix our ailing medical system. if only the president and those in congress follow suit. on a republican line, barbara from the state of washington. caller: i wanted to take -- make a couple of comments. i'm wondering why we want --
have a government who wants to extract money from citizens when we have millions of people currently out of work. and frankly, i think it is just another way of them taking more money to replace all of the money that has been stolen or squandered. thank you. host: you don't think the summit will make a difference? she hung up. we are going to take a short break. during the course of the next two and a half hours we will be talking to a number of members of congress and then julie rover from national public radio, who covers health care, and then we will return to live coverage. the house and senate are in session. with more on how you can watch and listen to today's proceedings and who is participating, here is nancy from c-span media. >> live coverage today of the white house health care summit on c-span3, c-span.org and here on c-span reappeared here is a look at some of the attendees from the senate. on the democratic side, senate
adjourn the leader harry reid, assistant majority leader dick durbin, conference vice-chairman chuck schumer, secretary patty murray, max baucus, chairman of the senate finance committee, chairman of the senate banking committee chris dodd, senate health committee chairman tom harkin and jay rockefeller, senate finance subcommittee on health care chairman -- chairman and kent conrad and senator ron wyden. from the republican side of the aisle, minority leader mitch mcconnell attending, along with jon kyl, senate republican whip, lamar alexander, a republican conference chair, chuck grassley, ranking member of the senate finance committee, mike enzi, remember on the senate health committee, and two other house committee members, john mccain and tom coburn and senator john barraso. live coverage on c-span3, c- span.org and seized a radio. -- c-span radio. >> live today, daylong coverage of the white house health care
summit. starting at 10:00 a.m. eastern president obama will meet with congressional leaders and other key members of the health-care debate. live from blair house. we will also include your reaction, today on c-span3, c- span c-span.org radio,. . "washington journal" continues. host: we welcome congressman michael burgess, he represents texas 26 congressional districts and before serving in congress he was an obese/thank you and for 25 years. will today's summit -- he was an ob/gyn for 25 years. will make a difference? guest: what if we had done this a year ago? would the president had opened it up to democrats and republicans and said we want to be serious about drafting policy? barack obama captured people's attention because he was going to be beyond partisanship. that is why people flocked to
him in such large numbers. we heard phrases of we want, you didn't, that was in this been in this bill and now it spilled over to the health-care debate. it is too big a problem to overcome in a six-hour summit. everybody recognizes that. the sides are so far apart on key fundamental issues. my opinion is, there are some things we can work on fixing. we've got 20% approval rating in congress. i did not know what is this morning, but it is not terribly high. we are down to friends and family and many of the family are dropping off. but are some things that we can prove utility. we can deal with the problem of pre-existing conditions. i don't think mandates are the way to go, but let's have that discussion. let's have that debate. we never even tried. it was -- this is the way it is going to be an all of the discussion is simply off the table. host: can you reset the clock?
can this administration and republicans sit down with democrats and craft a bill that would reach a bipartisan support? guest: nebraska thing is technically possible and today is a six--- anything is technically possible and today is a six-hour window. anything can happen in. if we continue to talk, if there continue to be meetings and discussions at the committee level it would be a good thing. it is not passed the point of no return. but if we find ourselves later in the week at a big democratic bill that would go through anyway, if they'd take off and the people on their side in the house to actually pass the senate bill through the house side in get it done, obviously that is the direction they will have chosen. some of your papers this morning are reporting the president has a back up smaller plan. i would love to see it. maybe that should be on the table this morning over at the blair house as well. there are things we could be doing today, things we could be doing this month that would help
the american people. our credibility is so low right now in congress, you would think we would begin to do those things, show value that we could solve some of these problems. right now people look at what is happening up here and they have no faith that we have the ability to do much of anything, let alone take over and reform 17 of the nation's economy. host: of your comment on a story describing the relationship or maybe the lack thereof of between the president and some of the republican leaders, and most notably john boehner. the essence is that these two men just don't get along. some describe them as oil and water. it guest: there are lots of people don't get along but yet you go through life and you managed the situation is -- situations. that cannot stop the country's business from being accomplished. ensure their other chief executives and majority and minority leaders who have not
gotten along but things got done. certainly there are people within each camp that do get along and talk to each other, and there are obviously avenues of communication. host: your phone calls. rod is joining us on the democrats' line from forest park, minnesota. caller: good morning. i would like to say that the republican health care planç costs $2.20 trillion last year, it was just on the business news. and the democratic plan would be $95 billion. that is a difference of $1,300 million. that is a lot of dollars. why does it cost so much for republican health care and so little for democratic health care? guest: i am not sure what republican plan he had analyzed.
i am not sure what democratic plan he had it analyzed because most of the dollar figures i have seen associated with the plan passed either by the house of the senate that are under the democrats control are much larger than $95 billion. truth is, the bill that was before the house and passed the house, the bill that passed the senate, both stored at close to $1 trillion over the 10-year budget wi"w. qthe reality is, beciure noneçf çthe benefits kick in for fourr five years, the actual cost is about to be substantially higher, and certainly the next decade after would be greater than that. as far as the republican plan is concerned, there was a republican plan, a motion to recommit last november on the house side that was scored by the congressional budget office and i did not remember at what figure. it was not terribly high. but the criticism wasç it did t cover many more people than were
already covered. it dealt more on the cost side of the coverage side. a valid criticism. %%m5 i had of what we put forwardzv that day. that is why on my health policy website, i have my prescriptions up there for what i think we should do within the system. look, during the summer town halls, what did i hear? we don't want the big plan you are trying to push on us but we want things fixed. those things i have enumerated -- pre-existing conditions, liability reform, flexibility and a covert, fairness in the tax code. these are things within our reach and grass, things we should be doing right now. do things within our reach an grasp. free society mandates are too big of a lift. we don't want to do mandates because then we take the insurance companies off the hook from ever having to have a product people actually want. you've got to buy it. host: the director of the office
of health care reform in the white house -- in your plan there are three ideas the democrats have embraced. first of all, the president said he will look at medical liability reform, price transparency, which you talk about, something this administration said it could support, and preventive care and well as programs. guest: sure, let's go. let us draft those three pieces of stand-alone legislation, put them on the floor, treat them, have them open to amendment, passed them on the senate and let them become law. we can do that before the summer. that is not that heavy a lift on those three points. why have we not broken out the parts that are doable and done them? i can't answer that question. you have to ask my leadership, their leadership, and the white house. host: do you think health care is broken? guest: of their are no question that there are people who are
poorly served -- there is no question that there are people who are poorly served today. but if you're going to be sick, this is the place to do it. the complexity and a vances' of what we are able to do in this country is astounding. one of my great privileges as i get to go to the cleveland clinic and the nail clinic, and i have been invited to many other places -- and the mayo clinic, and i have been invited to many places. what they have at their disposal, the tools they have to apply their trade is absolutely astounding, things i never would have thought possible when i was first starting my practice. we were entering a golden age, if you will, in the science of medicine. the trick is, we did not file a up on the policy side. host: can you fix whatever the problems piecemeal or do you have to do comprehensive reform? guest: i think you can do it piecemeal. here is our problem -- congress has low credibility, and the
other is that these plans that are out there, they don't have popular support. if you are going to do something this big, you have to build a from the bottom up. nobody bothered to do that. congressional credibility is so low, why not tackle something like pre-existing conditions? let us have a discussion about mandates. let us apply that. but at the same time, we could show utility to the american people today and not wait on getting this big mammoth thing through. quite frankly, i did not think it is going to pass, and if it does i think it would be a bad idea and you would see this next election of framed around who will reveal this terrible health care bill the house and senate passed and sent to the president. host: congressman michael burgess, a member of the house energy, health subcommittee, former ob/gyn. sarah on the republican line. caller: i am in my 70's and i'm
a first-time caller. these are the points i want to make. i do agree that we need changes in our health care in this country. it should be at least a five- step program. it should not be the whole thing push down our throats as it seems to be beard of -- seems to be. we did hear president obama say that they will pay for this program with the waste and fraud in medicare. medicare is only for the older people like myself. i am in my 70's, my husband is 89, and if there is that much waste and fraud in medicare, can we all just even fathom how much waste and fraud there would be in a huge, nationwide program? the other point i want to make quickly -- we have always thought of ourselves as the greatest country in the world.
all the countries think of us, i believe, as the greatest country in the world, and we have never had a politician run health care. believe me, i don't really like what is going on with the insurance companies. everything that we have with them is going up. the other point i want to make really fast is this -- obama has said there are 30 million americans, legal americans, that do not have health care. how many people out of the 30 million can afford it -- host: thank you for your call. guest: i'm not sure i understood the last point, whether the people who are uninsured kantor can afford. there are certainly -- can or can't afford it. there are some people who can
afford it but choose not to. there also among the ranks of the uninsured, people who would qualify for medicaid, s-chip, who have chosen for whatever reason not to sign up. when we talk about the number of uninsured that sounds dauntingly high, there are within bat, subsets of the population and if you were to focus on solving the problems of those in the subset, those who qualify who did not sign up, let us get them enrolled, and see if the number come down substantially. see if the cost, down because we are providing them care in a more timely basis. people who could have insurance or choose not to -- maybe they are not buying insurance not because they are not forced to, but there is not a product that appeals to them. people who are young and invincible. but if you framed the argument, we would like you to ensure your ashore ability -- in short york
insurer ability when you get older, they may listen. we have never tried that. we have a one size fits all mentality, we slept with a mandate, do what are good jail. the irs as the enforcer. look at the complaints against the irs with a huge mandate to pay taxes -- we have 15% of the population who choose not to file. if you put a big mandate -- how much will you gain on how much freedom you give up when you do that? when host: you practice, how much did you pay for malpractice insurance? guest: it float away. i remember as a young medical student in the early 1970's they gathered all of us and said malpractice insurance is in a crisis and then they got us back and said we solve the problem so you will not have it in your professional career. i wish they had. we had several fits and starts in texas when gov. bush, he
signed legislation that required people to put up an expert or a bond with a suit was filed but it cut down suits significantly. for some people got around that and the number started going up again. by 2002, when i left active practice, we were really in a serious crisis in texas. liability rates have gone up a for practitioners of ob/gyn, for minimal coverage, paid $50,000 for the policy. texas did is significant liability reform, caps on damages in 2003, and the costs have gone down to the $35,000 range for a practice in the dallas-fort worth area. it is still a huge number, but the bigger issue was, it was going up every year and now it started going down. the problem with liability is defensive medicine. the cost of defensive medicine
is far, far more than the cost of my overhead having to pay liability insurance. defensive medicine is learned behavior. it is the way i was trained in the 1970's. it will take time for those practice patterns to change, but change we must. no longer can every doctor do every possible test just in case that chart is pulled into court sunday and they have to defend their care and the judgment. we simply cannot afford to do that. there has to be stability in the system, which i think is what texas provided. the president talk about $25 million pilot program. nonsense. we have a good program. look at that. california did something in 1975 and have quite a large track record. the president alleges medical costs have not come down in texas but they are nowhere near as high as in new jersey or pennsylvania. these of things that need to be looked at state by state.
again, one size fits all may not be the best answer. host: have you kept track of how many babies you deliver? guest: the official number when i ran for congress was 3000 but when we calculated the number, which was the estimate, i forgot the number i delivered in but four years at parkland hospital which i suspect is substantial. borden is joining us, independent line. caller: good morning, steve, good morning, doctor. i'm a 76-year-old surgeon and i retired from active practice of medicine in the united states in 1988 because i did not want to be part of the medical system is all coming. i was lucky enough to be able to do so. three points, if i may. i think everybody knows what has to be done, and that is to make every medical dollar spent competitive without pick these sacred cows. we also know that is not going to happen because the special
interests will -- rule and politicians need to be reelected. host: let us take that point and we will follow-up. guest: of the first point, i consider myself -- the first point, i consider myself a public service -- servant and not a politician. and the special interests, one thing i bought up where the sick -- were the secret meetings last june. why were they not open and on c- span as promised during the campaign? i filed a resolution of inquiry with the committee did chairman waxman, to my surprise, agreed to help me find six of the 11 things i was asking for in terms of details. he is right. the people need to know this. you think of special interests and you think of insurance companies. yes, they are special interests. so our employee unions. so is aarp. it to the extent these people
have been involved in the crafting of this legislation, the people had a right to know who was around a table and what discussed. host: we will follow up with you, sir. guest: i understand what you are saying, doctor, and your points are well taken but nobody can argue the fact that medicaid and medicare may be on their way out because doctors cannot afford to practice what they are being paid today. a couple of other points. i think everybody really gets honest, we all know the cost of all levels of government is going to have to drop by at least half, with the tax is dropping appropriately, or our beautiful republic may be on its way out. we cannot afford to keep this something for nothing society going, which is what has been happening since the 1930's. i am not in tuning your integrity, doctor. i am sure that you mean well. but no matter how it is cut, unless you get enough money to be reelected, it is notw3çó goio happen. this is where the problem
exists, i think. as a doctor, i'm lucky enough to be able to retire from active practice in 1988. i go to emerging companies as a volunteer for who. i can afford to do it. but i don't think the people in this country have realized that we cannot afford this something for nothing any longer. that is what it all comes down to. guest: and his point is the rapid growth in entitlement spending that is talked about fromç time to time but no one really ever tackles it. there are a couple of things -- the president proposed commissions. i am not a big believer of commissions. representative paul ryan proposed what he calls a road map for the entitlementç refor i think that is a better way to go about it. one of his points. i did not run for congress to win reelection. i ran for congress to be able to participate in the debates and arguments and the votes, and as
long as i do that correctly, re- election then becomes very likely. if i crossed my district seriously, re-election becomes less likely. and no matter how much money i raise or spend, it is not going to overcome that. i'm very fortunate that when i have to make a tough decision in congress, i am generally supported by 70% of the people back home. that is what representative government is about. it is not about being able to raise money from special- interest groups and spend it to be reelected. host: in a couple of minutes, diane degette, democrat from colorado. and then jim clyburn, a democrat from south carolina and then jim cassidy, republican. new jersey, democrats line. caller: how are you guys? i am wondering, when you talk about spending, spending does
not come to where i live. what i mean is, you are saying -- who is doing this spending, because the main focus -- one comment. the main focus is, you are going to have to sit in the hospitals, in the medical clinics with the poor people so that republicans don't want to do this, so this means you are going to block everything obama or the president or pelosi or whenever they say because we have been dealing with this medicare as a black man for years. host: i will stop you there only because we are getting feedback -- and when we do get through, turn your volume down on the television set. guest: of first off -- first off, to his point of the republicans blocking president obama's proposal, that is not true. there are not enough of us to block much of anything.
what has blocked the president's proposal is the extreme unpopularity of said proposal and as a consequence, the rank and file democrats in the house of representatives have been nervous or reluctant to continue to push this big plan. now, if they can get 218 democrats to vote for the senate bill, then they can get it through and send it back to the president's desk for his signature and that can happen quickly. the fact is, this morning i don't think they can get two runs and 18 votes if they put the senate bill up to the floor -- 218 votes a bit of a senate bill up to the floor. the differences between different hospitals in different parts of the country, the gentleman is correct, exist. and to the extent there is a level of care that should be at a minimum is one that i think ever hospital administrator across the country takes seriously. they are not always successful. there are federal standards that have to be met.
within the medicare system that our standards that have to be met and there is the voluntary joint association for accreditation of hospitals. it so, no one should feel that they are in a substandard facility. there are different degrees of crowding based on population density. we are fortunately -- fortunate in texas the density is not as intense as in the caller's home state. but that is the difference between density in different parts of the country. i have to represent some economically fairly challenged areas. one of the things i set out to do when i began my congressional career is to deal with some of the problems that occurred in that relatively economically challenged area. the got a federally qualified health center to help offset the problem we had with infant mortality in that area. there are things the federal government can do and should do in those incidents. but the previous caller, the retired surgeon, is also
correct, we cannot do everything for everybody all the time. host: in the newspaper -- gop fears obama trap. is this a trap? guest: you have to ask the president. host: from your side of the aisle -- guest: i think my conference chairman used one -- that exact term on one of the sunday shows. the fact that we are talking is a good thing. people should embrace that. we should have been talking a year ago. it should have been at this level of discourse. the fact that it was not, we cannot go back and redo the past. we can perhaps modify the present and future, and if we continue talking after today is the key. host: does any country have a free market based health-care system? guest: there are some that do.
healthcaucus.org, under the issues tab is my prescription for the seven principles of health care reform did it actually references several bills that have been introduced and everyone is available to download that. there is a comment section where you can send me feedback on what you think, should be added or deleted. i would encourage you to engage in the discussion. host: as a reminder, check out c-span's healthcare hall at c- span.org. we are tracking the debate and members of congress as they twitter about the debate. all available on line. bill from johnson city, tennessee, republican line. you are on the air. go ahead, william. turn the volume down with it -- on your television set. caller: i am so glad to be on
the program. guest: glad to have you. caller: i am a conservative republican. i'm not but 28 years old, so all of my adult life republicans have been running this country, right? i don't like obama and his spending spree but how he is running the country currently but i appreciate that heat is taking on an issue of something we all agree it is broken -- he is taking on an issue of something we all agree that is broken which is health care. i did not know why we republicans to not try to fix it. that is the first question. why have we not try to fix health care for the past 27 years? guest: it is a valid question. back in 1993 and 1994, president clinton was in the white house and he had a democratic majority in the house and senate and they were going to change health care
in this country and it did not get done. you hear a lot of references to that time in washington but i certainly was not here. i was just a regular guy practicing medicine. what occurred after that -- of course, the republicans took over the house of our present of it is for the first time in 40 years but in 1996 you got welfare reform, in 1996 he got the state children's health insurance program set up, in 1997 you got medical savings accounts created which then evolves into today's health savings account, which is what i have -- the kind of insurance i have, by the way, because i want the ability to control how the dollars are spent for my health care. i did not want my employer to control them. i did not want my insurance companies toç control it and certainly not to -- the government. i want to control it myself. setting it up with theç kenned- castle bomb act in 1997. in 2002-2003, prescription drug
benefit for seniors were added to medicare, a phenomenal change within the medicare system, and this was done under a republican president with republican house and senate. 40 years of democratic administrations before have not been able to do that and president bush managed that the congressman. he never got much credit for it. he received much criticism from his own side but was it expensive? yes, it was. but it ended up costing a lot less than projected because they did keep some free-market principles involved in the development of the prescription drug program and as a consequence today you have 92% of seniors who have critical -- credible drug coverage compared to 80% before that came into effect and 92% are satisfied for the -- with the prescription drug coverage they have. .
before the easter recess, no one paid much attention to each other. if we come back and say work on and -- here is the thing. i get a lot of criticism with republicans not working and democrats. i saw the handwriting on the walls. i care a lot about health care policy. i said, let's talk about this. i never heard back from them. i reached out to my chairman on my committee. i did not give up a medical career to sit on the sidelines. someone came to me early on thain we know you care deeply into the ways we are doing this are not right and you have ideas. you have to help was on a public auction.
i cannot do -- a public auctioo. i cannot do mandate. we should that had -- mandates. we should have had more dialogue. host: thanks for being with us. guest: thanks for having me. any time. host: more from c-span radio. >> live coverage of the health care summit on c-span radio and television. on the democratic side, house speaker nancy pelosi, house majority leader, james clive
novel "animal farm." this is part of book tv weekend on c-span2. we have a digital archive of our programming. over 157,000 hours of c-span is now available to you. it is fast and free. try it out at c-span.org. "washington journal" continues. host: we welcome our next guest. good to speak with you. what will come out of the set -- the summit? guest: i hope we can come to an agreement on health care reform. host: many are saying the summit
is a set up. we need to stop talking about medical care reform and start fixing the economy. guest: we need to talk about insurance reform and how we can get 37 or 40 million people who currently do not have health insurance into insurance plans. we cannot fix our economy and tell people have health insurance. we want to have medical costs that are becoming an increasing percentage of our gross domestic product, then we will not fix health insurance. if we want to get everybody into a health insurance program that will improve their health but will also create more efficiencies in the system which will help our economy. host: what is in the senate bill that democrats do not like?
guest: there are a lot of things that members of the house do not like. they do not like the way the senate plan pays for their bill by taxing high-cost plans. in the media we have heard people say these are union plans. some are union. some are plants that people going out into the open insurance market are having to buy with their own money. the oversight committee had some hearings. blue cross from california is raising the rates for those people on the private insurance market 39%. in colorado, 20%. the way the senate pace is to tax those plans. we have a problem with that because those are middle income people that cannot afford to do it. there are other problems that
members have with the senate plan. one of the problems i have is my concern about anti-choice provisions in the house bill that went through. there are provisions in the senate bill that might restrict the availability of a woman's reproductive choice. we cannot fix that by passing the senate bill. there has been a lot of discussion in the house, senator, and with the white house about how we can take the house bill but we passed, take the senate bill and work to try to find common ground between them. if the republicans would sit down and get serious about finding common ground about kidding insurance coverage for a large number of people, that would be -- about the getting insurance coverage for a large number of people, that would be
ideal. host: what about a single payer system? guest: i would support it. but we cannot pass that. we can find the good in the meantime as opposed to find the perfect sometime in the future. insurance companies have to compete for a business. we think insurance costs will go down as a result. i think a good competitive system is corn to be key. something passed yesterday in the house that says we will move an exemption that health insurance companies now enjoy.
there are industries that are exempt from those laws. that is insurance and major- league baseball. we do not see any reason for that. if there is competition, insurance rates will go down. host: du can participate in this discussion by calling the numbers at the bottom of your screen. or you can send us an e-mail or join the conversation on line on twitter. we have the democrats' line from bradenton, florida. >> one name is mary. -- my name is mary. i have a question and a comment. they say medicare and medicaid is free.
i am disabled. i have been on it for eight years. i have to pay every year for what i have. it is not freed. the republicans kept saying the way to get the bill passed is the same thing as a reconciliation and nucleus. i know it is not the same thing. they were saying nobody was in the room to talk about the public plan. the republicans, every time they talked, they got up and left. they would not stay in the room to listen. host: thanks. guest: with medicaid, it is a program administered by the state. you are exactly right. some recipients do have to pay
certain amount. it varies state to state. secondly, people cannot think about all of these uninsured people in our country right now, over 40 million people, what happens is people that pay for health insurance end up paying twice. they pay their health insurance premium and extra for hospitals and doctors and others to pay for uninsured people that show up at the hospital. that is what we are trying to fix with our bill. you are right when he said we have a public process with this bill. we had days of hearings on health care reforms.
we had days and days of a markup on this bill. everybody who wanted to offer an amendment was allowed to. summer rejected. i do not understand why people are complaining that we did not have a public process. this is a long list debate that we have had. host: i want to bring up a new bit of information. one person points out that mr. obama and another have not had a one-on-one regarding this. guest: it is not productive for people to go back and forth and call each other names.
republican or democrat. i was talking to one of my republican colleagues as today about a friend of mine that i worked with on a number of pieces of legislation about what by partisanship really means. you sit down with somebody, figure out if there is common ground you can work on together and if there is a compromise. you cannot always find a solution that is bipartisan, but you recognize that and move on. what happens in washington is bipartisan ship becomes a method unto itself. >> the president will moderate its like a coach also an umpire. guest: i hope it is not a joke but people are positive sitting
down at the white house and talking. healthcare is a critical issue. many are self-employed from california that can barely afford to pay their health insurance premiums. all three had a family member with a pre-existing condition. they are paying almost as much for their insurance premiums as they are for their mortgages. they cannot switch insurance is because they have a pre-existing condition. so they are stuck where they are. many families are feeling the surrounding country. that is why we need to figure out health care reform. host: here is the agenda released by the white house. four separate talking points.
people have no right to health care. the only whites we have is from god. -- rights we have is from god. we need to depend on him. i think the single payer is better. [unintelligible] you cannot get the health care system right. this woman has brought more damage to our country than any woman in washington. she made sure we have abortion paid for. they have people talking the country into stem cell abortion.
they are bringing the judgment of god on them. they want to put the morning after pill in of the military hospitals to keep the women off the field. what does it cost us? host: we will get a response. thank you. guest: i think people are understandably anxious about the idea of national health care reform. what they have to realize is that every single american is paying for health care right fell for poor people and even middle-class people that cannot afford health insurance. they are paying for it in the most expensive way that does not give good health care results to people. the only way they can get health
care is if they cut to the emergency room. they are very sick when they tell which is not good for their health. it costs a lot more money. it costs money for the taxpayers. that is why it is in the national interest to develop a system where people can buy health insurance that is affordable. in order to do that, we have to make reforms to the health-care system. we have to get more competition in the insurance market. host: one wants to know about dealing with a transient work force. guest: what we have decided to do is build on the card system rather than throw away the system and start all over again.
there would be employer-based health insurance. what we have said in both bills is insurance companies cannot drop them because they switch employers, and they cannot exclude them from coverage because they have a pre-existing condition. we think those will help people who are moving from job to job or state to state to keep their health insurance if their new job does not have insurance or something like that. we are trying to help people that switched jobs get insurance by setting up an exchange where people could buy insurance policies on their own in the exchange. if there is competition, we think people will be able to get cheaper insurance rates. part of the problem we have had around the country, over 80% above or insurance market has
one provider. in colorado, one insurance company has over 70% of the market. we do not think that is good old american competition. that is why we need to remove the anti-trust exemption and have some kind of competition in the insurance industry. host: the senate will get underway in about one hour and 40 minutes. it will take place across from the white house. it will be held at the blair house. among the rams that was renovated is this room, the garden room -- among the rooms
that was renovated is this room, the garden room which is where the meeting will take place. david is joining us from illinois. good morning. caller: thank you for c-span. our family never goes to the doctor. our children were born at home. no vaccinations are immunizations. we do not take prescription drugs or tylenol. i am 31 years old. i have never been sick in my life. we have a high dose of vitamin c every day to keep from getting sick. they have come out with a vitamin d as a cure for cancer that is killing cancer cells in every type of animal. i know i am paying it through taxes, but we do not want to use the health care system.
guest: if you get into a car accident or your child gets injured, you will be taken to the emergency room and you will. by a low caste -- a low-cost insurance plan that will cover catastrophic costs for people like you. i am delighted to hear that your family is so healthy. i would hope that we can work on bonus programs said that every family can be that healthy. accidents do happen. that is what everybody needs to participate to some degree. some people may not choose to buy as a detailed health insurance policies as others. host: she is a member of one of the health subcommittees. she represents the first
congressional district of colorado. nyc, good morning. caller: the morning. health-care reform is definitely necessary and everybody in the country should get an affordable plan. i have some concerns. how affordable will it be if we are. -- if it is going to raise taxes when we are already paying more taxes because of the irresponsibility of wall street and banks like goldman sachs. to have no public plan with a penalty -- there are many people that do not have health care because they feel fine and do not want it. we are paying taxes for people that do not have it, but to penalize someone by taxing them if they do not want health
insurance if we pass this reform -- i do not think that is a solution. guest: thank you for those thought. we are not taxing average people to pay for the plan. we tax people that make over $500,000 a year. we think they can afford to pay a little bit more. average middle-class people, there is no tax. we hope that by putting this national exchange where people can get competitive bidding for their health insurance plan that their cost will be lower. they will end up paying less money. we had average middle-class americans who are paying 30% more in their insurance premiums, almost as much as their mortgages.
it is important if we are going to reduce the cost that everybody gets health insurance. everybody has to be enrolled in our plan. if everybody is not in the pool, the people that are more at high risk such as older people will have to pay more and more insurance. everybody will at least have to participate at some level. we are hoping that if we get everybody in health insurance and there is competitive purchasing, that will reduce the cost for everybody. host: republican line, west virginia. good morning. caller: thanks for having me on. i have three questions. i used to be an employer. when employees leave from company to company -- each
company has their own insurance company. when an employee goes from one to another, they have to start the process all over. host: let's take it one at a time. guest: you are exactly right. each company has insurance. if an employee wants to change jobs, sometimes they cannot because they have a pre-existing condition. if they get another job with a new insurance, they will not be ensured because of that pre- existing condition. we changed that in our legislation. we say they cannot deny people based on a pre-existing condition. our bill is designed to help people move from job to job more easily. host: did you want to follow up? caller: know, she is correct.
the problem is, that is a good idea. there are other things added to the bills that help people, let's say her state gets a certain percentage if she votes for it. that was talked about on c-span and other news broadcasts. the second point i want to make is i received an injury to my back. i have had two operations. each time i went to a pre op test, for 50 minutes, they charged my insurance company $2,500. they listened to my heart, took my blood, and asked me what i was allergic to. that is ridiculous, for 15 minutes.
i served this country for 6.5 years. my hand was blown up. i came up and had my own insurance company with the state plus changes. i had to sell my company to my son because i cannot do the work anymore. i am stuck with much campus insurance. guest: that is why we want to reform the insurance system. thank you for your service to our country. many people like you have lifetime injuries. in the house bill that was passed, we did not have these special deals for the state. i did not seek or get any special deals for colorado. what i am seeking in this bill is quality and affordable insurance for all americans so
they can get good health care. house members do not intend to vote for any bill. this is one of the problems for asking us to accept the senate bill. we will not accept any bills that get special deals to certain states. we do not believe in that. the situation of going to the hospital and having to pay $2,500 for a 15 minute test is why we think we need health care reform. the reason the hospital is charging you $2,500 for that is while you may have insurance, the next guy does not. if he shows up at the hospital with an injury, somebody has to pay for its, because the hospital has to treat that injured person. you end up paying for it.
we think that is unacceptable and unfair to you, because you have to pay more in insurance costs. he pay more in your deductible. that is why we think we need to get everybody insurance so the hospitals to not charge extra money of people that have insurance to treat people that do not have insurance. you are paying twice, for your insurance and to cover the other people in the country that cannot afford to buy health insurance and show up at the emergency room. host: thanks for being gracious with your time. we will continue with our look at the health care summit which is dominating our coverage this morning. in democrat from south carolina will join us in a moment. there are other stories making news this morning.
>> robert gibbs speaking earlier says the health care summit can be productive if participants put aside this notion of kabuki theater. there are enough votes to pass health care reform because the american people know the course they are on now is unsustainable. another person hopes for a productive session. republicans to care about improving health care for americans and their families. live coverage begins at 10:00 a.m. eastern on c-span television and seized in radio as well as c-span.org. < afghan troops would out final pockets of militants. 700 residents gathered in a central market to see a flag
raising and an appointment of a top government official. and pakistan confirms the arrest of a top taliban commander according to one official. it is part of a recent crackdown of insurgent in pakistan. he is one of four top leaders that have been detained in recent weeks. number three it is reacting to military maneuvers scheduled for next month with a threat and a warning. if the drill proceeds, warning that it could result to nuclear means. the threat was made hours after the special envoy to north korea arrived in the south from president obama. those are some of the latest headlines on c-span radio. >> coverage of the white house health-care coverage live today.
president obama will meet with key members of the health-care debate. that is today on c-span3, c-span radio and c-span.org. >>james clyburn will be put dissipating. thanks for being with us. who determined the list of participants? guest: i suspect the speaker along with another leadership team. i think most people were invited by the positions they hold. i think there were some additional people that she thought should be added to the list because of the special roles they play in putting this
plan together. >> can you give us insight into what is going on into today's meeting that guest: i do not know about that. one person had concerns about the size of the room. i have no idea about that though. people will be able to understand where democrats stand on this issue, where republicans stand on this issue. you get a chance to see as make the argument for the positions we currently hold. i think that is a good thing. we may not resolve anything today. we will go back to our respective caucuses.
we will get some input from them as to how they see it. we will see how they would like to move forward. host: what do you think the time line will be on health care? some think that they will push a boat before easter. guest: we have been talking about this for a year. i do not understand why that is. this whole notion that nobody understands what we are doing -- all of the hearings we have had a in the house? all of these three committees going through all of these discussions and these amendments that have been put up
by the republicans. i know there are issues that have to be addressed and were addressed in this bill. when you look at all of that, i do not understand what people think things will be taking place in the house today have taken place before today. [unintelligible] it depends on what happens in the senate. we have three plants on the table. the president has a proposal, the republicans, and the senate bill that we are working from. i think there has been a good
job of cleaning up things that the public seem to be reacting to. people seemed -- seem to be concerned about the special deals done for states. none of that was in the house plan. i think the american people have three or four different sets of proposals under consideration. we have boiled it down to one so people can see what we are trying to do. host: how will you get there? guest: i will not take a taxi. but i will get there. host: texas, democrats line.
caller: and not all texans are as ignorant racine know when we get in. what do you really expect at the end of the day when the summit is over with? what can we expect after the summit is over? host: we will show you a list of the participants. guest: three house committees worked on this bill. the leadership will be in the meeting. i believe there are four other
people invited to participate. these are people that play special roles some work in the subcommittee level. others have negotiations taking place. host: our next caller is from anthony on the republican line joining us from florida. caller: i am a kidney pancreas transplant recipient in a north carolina hospital. i have been informed that after i received the transplant that all of my benefits from medicare -- i cannot understand
what president obama means when he talks about insurance companies dropping patients because of pre-existing conditions. if you have a condition, i am on medicare. i have been approved for operations. my coordinators at the hospital tell me three years after the transplant, i will lose all of my insurance. host: when do you think your surgery will take place? caller: march 16. host: good luck to you. guest: good luck to you as well. here is what president obama means when he talks about discriminating a guess people in terms of pre-existing conditions.
a couple came into my office and said they wanted me to meet their child. i met the child. it said juvenile diabetes, born with diabetes. the couple wanted me to meet the child because they had been informed that the debt child cannot be brought onto -- that the child cannot be brought on to their insurance policy because that diabetes is a pre- existing condition. we want to get rid of discriminating people because of pre-existing conditions. we are trying to fix medicare. we are trying to do things that would get rid of that cap on
your services for medicare. the same thing for people that have private insurance. a lot of people with private insurers have annual caps on their benefits as well as lifetime caps. we are trying to get rid of that so that you'll have unlimited care. we sympathize with that. we want to get rid of those things that have been informed that you could be facing down the road. host: if you want to watch the proceedings on your office computer, log onto c-span.org. we will stream at a live all day and are caught the proceedings. you can also listen to it on the radio as well as see it on c- span.
bob is joining us from arlington, texas. good morning. caller: what i do not understand is that certain things cannot be done on a test basis. you have to have the whole thing or nothing at all. what i think the deal is its people do not have a clear understanding of insurance. you get people that do not need the coverage and do not take it. those that need the coverage to take it. it is called adverse selection. only those that meet the
selection get it. they cannot pay a million dollar claim with $300 premium unless everybody is in the program. guest: last point is right. that is why we are trying to bring everybody into this said that the risk is spread. let me say this about the program itself. we have had a number of years with experiences of medicare, medicaid. we know a lot about what works and what does not work we are trying to expand that kind of service to other people as well. it is unfair to say that we do not know what worked and what does not work.
i was looking at nine different locations when we have done things with health care since 1982. we created divisions between medicaid and other welfare services. the expanded coverage in bylaws. we have done a lot of things in this congress trying to get health care for the american people. this is another step. we are trying to build upon the experiences we have had over the years trying to have affordable and accessible health care available for all americans. host: you did an outstanding job of gathering the votes in the health-care debate.
are the votes still there? guest: i think they are unfair. if we have the kind of improvements that are being proposed, they are there. i congratulate what they have done in the area of prevention care. we of very pleased with this on the democrat side. wheelie leave that certain accountabilities with insurance companies should be in place. we are not here trying to do anything in a partisan way. that is why we are having this meeting today. them to do what is in the best interest of the american people.
the vote was 1206 to 12 in the house to eliminate insurance exceptions that companies have. we do not know why it is that pre-existing conditions were not included in the republican proposal. that seems to be one of the more popular and beneficial things we can do. people are discriminated because of pre-existing conditions. we believe this is a good way to get partisan proposals if we stop trying to play a game of got you. host: are you excited about the summit?
>> i am excited about the prospect. you always want to have cordial discussions. i want the american people to know that much of what they've read about the relationship that a fifth between democrats and republicans is very headline- seeking. i think you will see that today. host: it is available on our website. this is what the garden room looks like. having been in this room? guest: yes. host: what about the chemistry? guest: it depends on how we
interact with one another. i think we will do well. lunch will be served there. host: democrats line. caller: thanks for taking my call. a first question is how i know a lot of people that have several different identifications that pay nothing for health insurance that are illegal people. i have to pay for their health insurance because they do not have it. how can i get so security benefits without them legally being in the country? guest: if you have health
insurance, you are paying for americans that do not have health insurance. this is not about who is illegal. this is about almost 50 million american people who are citizens that do not have health care either because they cannot afford it or because they are not in employment situations that provided for them. that is the cost shifting taking place in this system. it has nothing to do with whether or not there are people here that are legally or illegally. we do not have universal access to health care for all of our citizens. when i looked at a bill after a surgery and saw how much was paid for one aspirin, i knew we were paying for the aspirin of
all those other people that come into the hospital and do not have health insurance. that is what you are paying for. caller: my wife and i had another baby girl. xdour bill was $24,000. we asked for an ionization of what the bill was for. they said they did not itemize the bill. we do not know what we are paying for. i think that is crazy. guest: that is why we have to have reform in this system. i think you are entitled to have itemized bills. they do not want you to know how much you pay for an aspirin. we need accountability in this system. thanks for your comments.
host: good morning. caller: i have not seen much transparency. every deal that has been made has been made at the white house behind closed doors. i am not here to lecture you. i have a question. the trust that we put in congress is well founded on our behalf. i do not think you are holding up your end of the deal. i am not talking about you personally. ñiiñr have no grievance with yo. the president came on in said there would be no abortion paid for by taxpayer funding. it seems that it was watered down when they got to the senate. the president says there would
be no taxpayer funding for abortion. at best, there is no clarity on that. you are asking for our trust and money for the next four years. we need reform. in a year and a half i am supposed to collect social security. that money is gone, never to return. there is no solution to the problem. now you are asking us to trust you with one fifth of this economy for people that cannot give of their own way. guest: about the abortion issue, we spent a lot of
evidence together. -- evenings together. we are trying to prevent taxpayer money from going to abortions. they do not go for abortions. i am paraphrasing. they did not want abortions to be paid for even if someone has insurance if they are often attain in the same exchange as the other insurance companies credited that is where the issue
came. as far as what we are trying to do, we are trying to make sure that medicare is fixed in this bill said that it can be there for you in the future. that is five who are trying to reform medicare. we are trying to fix it so that medicare systems will be there for everybody. people know that under the current system, it cannot be sustained under the way it is today. we are trying to fix that.
i appreciate your comments. i believe there has been transparency in the system if you look at all of the hearings we had in the house at the committee level. but at what they had in the senate. they sought it and heard it because of the transparency that was there. people have had an opportunity to take a look at what we have been doing. host: we have some and joining us from topeka, kansas. caller: i am a diabetic, self- employed. i got its after i had my insurance. i am in the pre-existing sector. insurance come out with better
plans every year. in 10 years, i am in a pool of debt with cancer and diabetes and so on. and 47. i have had it for 11 years. guest: you are a classic example of why we need to fix that. we have to make sure that insurance is available to you. we want to get rid of discrimination against people we lead in juvenile diabetes. i have worked very hard >> my wife -- my wife's heart surgery was a result of diabetes.
i know exactly what it is that you are living with. that is one of the things i am working to try to make sure that we get rid of. that is why we want republicans and democrats to sit around the table. we want to show our republican friends why these pre-existing conditions ought to be in this bill. we think we can benefits by sitting round the table. we hope they will see it my way. host: william between teen during the summit? guest: i will not be. i will park one died. at the door.
i will try to explain to them my feelings about it. i will not be doing that at all. there are members of congress that will be treating. -- tweed ring. -- host: there are members of congress that will yerryinbe tweeting. we will check in with you after the meeting. thanks for joining us. we have a position that will be joining us to give us his perspective on this health care debate. the summit will convene in just one hour. you are watching "washington
taiwan. china considers taiwan part of its territory and vows to cut it by force is necessary. gm says it will still hear offers for the hummer but a potential investors would have to move fast. those are some headlines from c- span radio. >> "washington journal" continues. host: the health care summit gets under way in an hour. we watch him congressman bill cassidy, a former teacher at a news yet -- we welcome congressman bill passed, a former teacher at louisiana state university. you still teach? guest: i still to -- host: get a drink of water. maybe you are nervous. guest: i'm good. host: okay, how do you reform health care? what changes need to be made?
guest: you look at what works and that which doesn't, and it you gravitate towards what works. one of the things that have is held savings account. currently if you buy an insurance policy, at the end of the year, you have not put up to zero thousand others, did you put up another $12,000. -- not put up $12,000, then you put up another $12,000. but withheld savings account, if you have not used it, you keep it. the kaiser foundation has a study that shows that for a family of four withheld savings account, it is 30% cheaper, and the family of four is just as likely to use preventive services as with the traditional policy, and 27% of people with hsa's previously uninsured,
$50,000 or less. this is something that works and can be built upon. that should be the format. on the other hand, big government programs like medicaid and medicare have traditionally huge inflation rates driving the cost. what works is the patient- centered approach, which is where we should be going, but does not work with big bureaucracies, which is not where we should be going. host: the house and senate bills are drastically different and the president is leaning towards the senate version, "which i do not support." are there areas which both chambers and parties can agree on? guest: i recently published an editorial in "politico.com" on 10 things that republicans and democrats can agree on right now. one thing passed yesterday, in a stickup edition for insurance companies. -- interstate competition for
entrance to potee street the other thing, mrs. obama has taken on -- it is a competition for insurance companies. the other thing, mrs. obama has taken on obesity. we can agree on addressing that. there are at least 10 things that be listed in the editorial. host: a question on the senate side of the aisle, the development yesterday that the white house had invited a libya snow and she declined the invitation. -- invited olympia snow and she declined the invitation. why did the white house what the republican senator in the room? guest: clearly, they see her as the one person who is most likely to support a democratic initiative. clearly the white house understands that the people want to have a bipartisan solution, and so i think that this is their attempt to find one person and would agree with them to be there. but i think ms. snowe has
signaled she is not ready to agree with that this particular plan. host: national, tennessee, democrats' line. caller: good morning to our you, dr. cassidy? guest: i'm good. caller: i am a nurse and a paralegal. i have worked on both sides of the aisle on malpractice suits. i have looked at all of this, listen to all of this going on. there are three points i would like to make with you. first of all, congressional duties. second, the true nature of the malpractice, and the third thing is the analogy of for the health-care system is. if i could do that. the preamble of the constitution contains a clause that says -- well, the purpose of the constitutional government is to provide the general welfare. there is also a commerce
clause, any necessary and proper clause, to protect the people from abuses. i am well aware of the increases in the prices of medication, since we are constantly seeing advertisements on television which we did not see what i started going into nursing. we are constantly seeing increases in our courageous profit margins for an economy like this for an insurance company -- with outrageous profit margins for an economy like this for insurance companies. a fair market requires competition. there is no competition against a patent. the insurance companies are so sparse in many states that there is no competition. you cannot have a fair competitive market. you have a monopoly. host: you have a response? guest: a couple of things. first, let's talk about competition. the reason i like, and
republicans in general like, a patient-centered approach is that the data shows you that which works, things like held savings accounts. when the patient becomes engaged in watching her pocketbook, her health improves and costs are the word. that is independent of what an insurance company charges. -- costs are lowered, and that is independent of what an insurance company charges but i was speaking to a patient, the patient knew from experience that cost $159. $139 out of $160. he added down to the -- $159 out of $160. he had it down to the pocket. -- the dollar. he did send the generic, and the patient takes it, and -- he takes the generic, and the patient takes it, and he does
just as well as he would with more expensive medicine. in a sense, that is independent of any of the other shortcomings that we have as regards price of medicine, patent law tos, -- patent laws, or costs of insurance companies. everything has talking points attached to it, but ultimately, if we lower costs, it is because patients become engaged. studies show that works, even with the shortcomings of the current system. host: as a doctor who prescribes medication -- whenever we do health care, this person talks about canada. are there medicinal purposes for marijuana? guest: there are. it is used for glaucoma,
chemotherapy-induced nausea. i treat hepatitis c, which can cause people to lose appetite and become nauseated. marijuana addresses both. it stimulates the appetite and helped nausea. there are medical needs. and there is a pill form of the active ingredient in marijuana. it is available. host: how should congress address this part of the debate? guest: the pill is already a legal drug. host: smoking marijuana? guest: smoking marijuana would do the same thing, but frankly, i think the health care debate is complicated enough without introducing legalization of pot as another complicating factor. host: massachusetts, republican line, with the doctor and congressman bill cassidy from louisiana. caller: good morning. good morning, steve.
i want to know what this year at 10:00 is supposed beyond -- what are they fighting over? do you know? guest: put simply, 50% of our national economy is devoted towards health care. there are true needs. i am a physician working with the uninsured for 20 years there clearly is a need for reform. to many of my patients have medical needs not addressed. but there are philosophical differences in the direction we should go. but the most conceptually, the bill's advance by the -- bills advanced by the administration and the democratic house and senate would increase the size of government and introduce more involvement of the government into your health care decisions. republicans have a veered away from that and said that no, a decision made about a person's health should be made in the
exam room, and a discussion between a patient and her physician as opposed to a bureaucrat in washington, d.c. we all agree that there needs to be reformed. what other reasons i ran for congress is because i feel so passionate -- one of the reasons i ran for congress is because i feel so passionate about this. but do we go from a top-down bureaucratic approach, or do we come from a grass-roots, patient-physician, nurse practitioner approach? one goes down, one goes up. from my practice as a physician, i think the one that goes up is better. host: you probably agree with this point -- guest: clearly, what victor points out what the american people will figure out, this is such an exercise and a participate democracy. let me congratulate c-span, because you have been part of this breed them american people
have realized that the bill, which is going to cost $1 trillion over the next years, trillions in tax receipts by not introducing benefits until four years from now. 10 years of the taxes for six years of benefits. all we were doing was treating -- if all we were doing was responding to pre-existing conditions, all of us would be in favor of that. host: are you listened to as a doctor in congress? guest: on my side of the aisle. when i first got here, i went to a physician on the other side of the aisle -- host: kennedy name? -- can he be named? guest: no, but he said, the
decisions will be made by people on the staff. "i wish i were the sent to, but i am not." -- were listened to, but i am not." host: next call. caller: congressman cassidy, i meant 82-year-old that has been on medicare -- i am an 82-year- old that has been on medicare, and i am very happy with it. it does everything i have ever needed, along with my supplemental. i have had cancer, i have had seizures, i have had all kinds of pretty heavy-duty problems, which they have sought for me. because aids is a single payer system and it seems to be functioning quite well, at least from my view, -- and because it is a single payer system and it seems to be functioning quite
well, at least from my view, and neither of the parties can agree on what they want -- they seem to have their own idea of what the public wants -- i would suggest perhaps having a national referendum asking all of the citizens what they want in terms of a single payer system. your earlier guest, ms degette, said that the single payer system was the perfect system compared to the good that was obtainable. but if all of the citizens want a single payer system, that would seem to tell the congress what to do. guest: harrison, thank you for your comments. medicare is an incredibly important program which clearly needs to be strengthened, and it has worked well for folks over 65. but medicare actuaries, the folks who government care, are
saying that it will be bankrupt in years. it is a great program, but it turns out that we will have to work to shore it up so that the guarantee we have given to people that after 65 you will have this can continue to be fulfilled. that is actually a bad model with which to proceed. one thing i will point out is that the netherlands, which is really a very small country, probably fewer people in the netherlands then in my home state of louisiana -- they said they were going to reform health care, it looked around europe, and they decided not to go to a single payer system, because you look at other single payer systems, and this is not sustainable in the long term. they began on a process which they said at the outset would take 10 to 15 years but they said it would change something and something but also have to be changed in two years, as we learned. if it is such a small country, culturally and geographically so homogeneous, and it makes a
decision that we have to do this over 15 years, it makes you think that maybe we as americans, 300 million, very diverse, it should also have a process like this. single payer systems, by the way -- the governments that run them will have decreased administrative costs, but on the other hand, let me point out that the premier of canada recently came to the united states to get his heart surgery done, because if he had stayed in canada, a single payer system, they would have cracked his whole chest -- that is medical talk -- they would have opened up his sternum. the problem with single payer -- ultimately, to control costs, they have to control access to technology. this person would have waited months for a much more severe operation. instead, he came to miami and had minimally invasive surgery and had it within two to three
weeks. host: your specialty in medicine? guest: gastroenterologist medical specialists. i did my fellow ship at the university of southern california. host: next caller. caller: good morning, sir. good morning, steve, good morning, congressman. i'm a democrat, and was a labor leader. but the problem i see is that we have a -- [unintelligible] actually, too many congressmen and senators cannot vote for, because they have to go home. why don't we start i do like i used to do in negotiations, create a wish list, but then go in and pass one item at a time?
that way, congressman and senators cannot hide -- either i am for it or i am against it. pass it, go to the next item. guest: william, i often say to folks that if we could take the wisdom of the american people and channel it to the floor of the house of representatives, we would do so much better. what you just said is true. as it turns out, i wrote the article for "politico" two weeks ago, and one of the things i talked about was interstate competition. yesterday, on a bipartisan basis, overwhelming support from democrats and republicans, the house passed a bill encouraging interested competition for health insurance companies. i agree with what you are saying. but the reality is that people want an agenda far beyond --ok e congressmen and women on an agenda beyond bare bones.
they want to favor specific group, and they add that, hoping to get the whole package. i would hope that you are elected to office here on the democratic side and some other folks. host: william, are you still there? he hung up -- are you still there? caller: yes. i think we ought to just pass one item at a time. guest: i agree with you, man. host: cap, florida, independent line. -- tampa, florida, independent- mit line. caller: i have heard this back- and-forth since started getting into politics in the 1980's. it seems that we skip a whole lot of details. the costs we are talking about here -- nobody seems to go to the $1.2 billion that the health
insurance companies and the pharmaceutical companies spend telling us on television, a very, very expensive air time, i might add, 24 hours a day, 17 days a week, about drugs that we have to goat to see a doctor to get. we are going to be told, "you need this drug or that drugs." we even have boner pills going on with this thing. in the middle of prime-time u!television, and it blows me çaway, the trial lawyers go ahd and tell you that you have been injured in this or that -- host: i will stop you there pretty we get your point. guest: that is why i would go to patient-centered health care and health savings account. there was a madison advertised on tv for $159. --medicine advertise on tv for
$159. but the patient asked, "could i get something cheaper?" once people get engaged, they will not be as swayed by a glossy advertisements in magazines as they will be by what affects their pocketbook. by the way, as a physician, i can tell you that the more that patients participate in decisions regarding his or her health, the less they are sued. once you have this part is a tory relationship, once you have control of health care -- this participatory relationship, once you have control of health care bubbling up, a lot of the things will be addressed. host: a twitter comment --
can you touch on that point? guest: again, yesterday, on a bipartisan basis, democrats and republicans voted for a bill which would begin to encourage insurance companies to compete across state lines. as a rule, we know that the competition lowers costs. i think that congress has recognized the wisdom of that twitter comment and has begun to implement such. host: robert is turning us from the democrats' line on a fort lauderdale. caller: we talk about selling insurance across state lines. that is good, but also car injured across state lines -- the prices you quoted -- car insurance across state lines -- the prices you quoted do not quoted -- do not get quoted as
prices for residents in that state. it would not get repaired in d.c. or new york -- guest: when you go online and get a mortgage, you notice that you have a web site, and you click and will ask what state you live in. whatever the web site is, it is taking the place where you are paying the mortgage and adjusts the cost of the mortgage for local conditions. i think what we have learned is that the market can respond very nicely if there are different laws for car insurance in florida than in louisiana, where i'm from, and i want and, quote, and as soon as i put in the zip code, the online quote response to that. caller: no, you're just giving business to an insurance company in another state. does not mean your rights will be cheaper. -- your rates will be cheaper.
it is equivalent to what you are buying in another state. guest: but when there is more competition in our economy, costs go down. in 1975, you paid $2 for eight bi -- for a big mac and i still pay that in 2000 at 10. -- 2008. i'm just going to unapologetically say as a republican and conservative that we have to trust the petition. steve asked at the outset what can change things. competition works, man. caller: big mac will cost you the same thing from the company regardless. you talk about the 2000-page bill that the house passed. you had 159 amendments in there. how many pages to the 159 and
and and take up? when you make a law, to have to put in everything specified by the particular amendment. guest: there was an amendment process, but the amendments are not inconsequential. on president obama's website, he has an 11-page pdf werke lists some of the amendments that he would add to the senate bill --. where he lists some of the amendments that he would add to the senate bill. those are good amendments that would get rid of waste, fraud, and abuse. but the bill we are getting from the senate is almost unprecedented. sure, there are a lot of amendments there, but there is the dense this -- denseness -- if you want. all those pages to figure out what is going on, it is difficult --. if you want to read all those pages to figure out what is going on, it is difficult. as a fellow mentioned earlier, there are things in that that did not pertain to healthcare, but to narrow interests. host: another issue the
president has brought forth in town hall meetings, and your response -- guest: well, we are a compassionate people. as a physician who has cared for people for the last 20 years, if someone is uninsured and has a motorcycle accident and brought into the emergency room, we are not going to let that person suffered on the doorstep. there is a moral hazard that if someone is not injured, they may avail themselves of the good will of the american people but they are -- but we are a generous people. host: but what about something not life-threatening or you are using the emergency room --? where you are using the emergency room? guest: we go to the emergency rooms and say, listen, when you have somebody there for a non-
life-threatening illness, said that to us. we will treat them for free if they are not insured. -- send them to us, we will treat them for free if they are not insured. they say that they don't want to do that, in fear that the justice department will take us to court and sue us forever. there is a fear of lawsuits from the justice department, and fear of litigation on the plaintiff'' bar, the prevent hospitals from doing such. host: republican line, good morning. caller: representative cassidy, i am a 10-year coast guard veteran under ronald reagan. our problem is that i think back in 1952, there was a volunteer program from eisenhower's commission to help the needs of the nation, and that included nutritionists and pediatricians.
also a physician, thank you for being with us. guest: thank you, steve. thank you, viewers. host: blair house is directly across the street from the white house. it is named actor francis preston blair, a member of the kitchen cabinet in the jackson administration. -- named after francis preston blair, a member of the kitchen cabinet in the jackson administration. restoring this room with a chandelier, and this is what it looks like from our documentary. it has been fitted to date for a rectangular shaped table, with members of congress and the administration. coming up, julie rovner will join us to bring her perspective
on what we should look for. right now, nancy calo is keeping track of how you can watch and listen to the proceedings today. we'll have prime-time coverage of the event on c-span, and also the participants. >> steve, the coverage begins at half an hour of the white house health care summit, and you can watch it on c-span3 television, c-span.org, and listen to it on c-span radio. here are some of the attendees from the senate side -- majority leader harry reid, and dick durbin, chuck schumer, patty murray, max baucus, chairman of the senate finance committee. the banking committee chairman, chris dodd, tom harkin, who chairs the health committee, a rockefeller, chairman of the senate finance subcommittee on health care, kent conrad, the senate budget committee chairman, and senator braun wide republicans from the senate will be attending include minority
leader mitch mcconnell, senator john k, lamar alexander, senator chuck grassley, the ranking member on the senate finance committee, mike enzi, the ranking member on the health committee, and senator john mccain, also a member of the health committee, along with health committee member tom coburn, and finally, senator john barrasso. on the house side, democrats attending include house speaker nancy pelosi, house majority leader steny hoyer, majority whip james clyburn, ways and means committee chairman check rangel, education committee chairman george miller, henry waxman, and the chairman emeritus, john dingell, xavier becerra, louise slaughter, and congressman robert andrews and jim cooper. on the republican side, john boehnerill be attending, along
with eric cantor, and joe barton, ways and means committee ranking republican dave camp, john kline, marsha blackburn, charles waboustany, peter roskam, and finally, paul ryan. coverage begins at a half an hour, and watch it on c-span3, c-span.org, or listen to it on c-span radio. guest: "washington journal" can -- >> "washington journal" continues. host: julie rovner from national public radio joines as. guest: the issues on the table, what is ostensibly on the table, is is there room for some common ground to be found between the democrats and republicans? the president laid out his own
plan. we have been waiting for a year for the president to lay out his own plan but what this really is is changes that the president has made to the senate bill, the one that the senate passed early in the morning, if you recall, on christmas eve. the president has tweak it and the best. many of the changes were already in the works -- the president has to expect a little bit. many of the changes were already in the works. this is really the direction that was -- that the bill was moving before the senate lost their 60-vote supermajority with the election of scott brown to fill the seat of senator edward kennedy. it looked like the democrats were just going to proceed with all democratic votes. there can the question of could that happen anymore, since there was no longer the 60-vote supermajority. there is the question of perhaps needing some republicans. the president is reaching out. he went to the house republican
issues retreat in baltimore a few weeks ago, and had what i think everybody agreed was a rather remarkably candid discussion that the cameras were left on a fort pitt the wanted to c-span.or -- that the cameras were left on for. he said to have a lengthy, formal discussion on can we find some areas of agreement. that was the origin of today's meeting. on the other hand, there is a lot of speculation going on. are democrats just going to use this to say, "ok, we gave republicans the day to bring forward their ideas, and now we are going to go ahead with what we were going to do anyway," which is bypass the need for 60 votes and use the reconciliation process. republicans are worried about is perhaps being set up, window dressing. democrats will do this the same way, or is this a possibility to get some republican ideas into a bill?
democrats are saying, where republicans ever will be willing to have any part of this bill? republicans are riding high in the polls that were partly by saying no to this bill, by saying that the american people have rejected this bill and we don't want to go into this direction. that is what the stakes are for both sides. host: julie rovner will be joining us through the top of the hour. some of the headlines -- "lights, camera, action?" julie rovner, to your earlier point about expectations, robert gibbs is making the rounds of the morning shows, including cnn, talking about expectations. >> we are going to have a big table and listen to a bunch of ideas. i hope that participants on either side, democrat or republican, come with the open mind listening to the people that they work with every day,
understanding their point of view, inc. more of their ideas, both democrat and republican, it to this proposal, and doing something on behalf of the american people. the american people are tired of watching the two parties simply sit out here in washington, d.c., and fight each other. it is time that we did something on behalf of them. host: jack is joining us from minnesota, independent line. what do you want to see and hear today? caller: i don't think i will see and hear anything today. i am for single payer. your last guest, the estimable dr. cassidy -- i have grave doubts about his diagnostic abilities. i was a health care provider. he has a patient in his examining room -- mr. us health care -- with a benign tumor on his forehead, almost not suitable -- seeable, and then, a
huge family of tapeworms. in other words, the patient is parasitize. -- parasitized. the estimable brian schweitzer, governor of montana, diagnosed much better than him. he said that we have a problem, the most expensive health-care system in the world, and it is because of three things -- we paid too much for medical devices, too much for pharmaceuticals, and much too much for health insurance. let me give you an example. they raced out insurance by 40% in california -- raised health insurance by 40% in california. host: thanks for the call. "usa today" has a story, "outlook is dim for the held summit." ."
is joining us from new york on the democrats' line. -- douglas is joining us from new york on the democrats' line. caller: good morning. appreciative of having spent educating the people and giving us an opportunity to be involved -- of having c-span educating the people and giving us an opportunity to be involved. i think a whole two-party system -- well, the three-party system, with independents -- needs to be reworked. people are calling on party issues rather than the actual issues. spial interest are giving big, big money to these house members and senators when they get elected, and that they owe them, and everybody knows about the special interest angle. that is a real problem. i think that the party system is what causes that, because it allows people to grow up in blocks -- not only unions, but large corporations and all. the fda does not have enough
control over what is going on in the health-care industry. the fda should be held accountable. every time that they say we are going to pay less, as far as medicare and medicaid, as a percentage of the whole bill, that is not solving the problem, because those corporations will just continue to come up with new medication and put them on the market and they will have new procedures and put them on the market. if i say -- i am going to lose a dying piece of the apples i'm selling, but i will have oranges, bananas, cantaloupes, i will make more money any way. bottom line is that the fda needs to be more involved in the necessity for the medications. host: i will stop you there. thank you. "philadelphia inquirer" has this story, "turning into a d.c. medical drama.
by this point in the year, the white house had thought that its health care overhaul would have been completed and would allow the president to swivel to the near-10% unemployment rate." julie rovner, your response? guest: well, yeah. i don't think anyone expected this to be dragging on for so long. the color's point about the fda, if i could address that -- the fda does not look at costs. look purely at the safety and efficacy of drugs and medical devices -- the fda look purely at the safety and efficacy of drugs and medical devices. it is one of the things that the bills that are on the table actually do talk about, the idea of this comparative effectiveness. it goes back to money that was in the stimulus bill, too. should we not be looking at how things measure up to each other? the fda's job is to say that if
a new drug works and is safe, it can be on the market. it may be three times more expensive as an older drug that perhaps worked just as well or works better. but that is not the fba's job, not anything that the fda has ever been tapped to do. it is not in the drug industry's and just to say that their brand new, probably more expensive drug does not work as well as an older, less expensive drug. that is why the government is now putting the money up to do that. there are vested interests to maybe go on to find out that the more expensive drug does not work as -- who maybe don't want find out that the more expensive drug does not work as well as the less-expensive drug. one of the difficulties with medical costs and one of the reasons the medical costs go up so fast is that every time you try to limit costs, it is taking money out of someone's pocket -- the people who produce these products, make these products and sell his products and
perform these procedures. every time we limit the $2.20 trillion that gets spent every year, that is somebody's income. it is a lot of money in this economy. that is my city money in health care is always fraught with difficulty -- that is why saving money in health care is always fraught with difficulty as a political exercise. every time the congress has tried to do this over the last 100 years, it has wrought upon at the nasty shoals of politics. host: "the new york times" writing about the preparations for today's summit in at blair house, everything from the seating arrangements to the topic of discussion. one of the viewers is saying that the health care summit is being carried on at the higher- tier c-span3. in the 30 years that c-span has been on the air, we have had a commitment to cover the house and senate gavel-to-gavel. at 10:00 a.m. eastern time, we will take you to the life
proceedings of the house of representatives. if there are vote breaks, we will show you to rent them what is happening with the summit. but that is why we have c-span3, for days like this, so that you can watch the house and senate if that is your preference, and also watch the summit. there will be a lunch break, and the summit will resume this afternoon until about 4:00, when the president and the vice- president will walk from the oval office across pennsylvania avenue to 1651 pennsylvania ave, leaving shortly, and the proceeding is getting underway at 10:00. on this network, once the house has concluded its business for today, a chance to watch it in prime time, either on c-span or c-span2. we are getting seen from inside the room. you can see the senate republican leader, mitch mcconnell, and lamar alexander, seated at their. this is the guard room of blair house, renovated during the
reagan administration. tom joins us from illinois. what do you want to see today? caller: i'm sorry, what did you say? host: what do you want to see and hear today? caller: the truth. what i mean by that is that i have been sitting here watching this whole thing, and obama said -- i don't have this all right, but supposedly, we are supposed to start paying taxes towards the health care bill, i don't think that we are going to have health coverage for, what, four or five years. i am going to be paying for something that i am not going to get, but i still have to buy my other coverage? i have never heard anybody explained that real well. in the same sentence, he says that somehow we will balance the budget out of this thing. if a somewhere in there somebody is standing may -- is scamming me -- the other thing we need to
look at social security, medicare -- first, before i get to that, i want to say one other thing -- i am a member of the hancock county health board. i go there, it is lower costs, and i get my blood work done there and all this stuff there. it is subsidized by the federal government, state government. we take medicare, we have medicare, medicare part d. we are going to make another big government thing. it is just like everything that the big government dies. host: i am going to stop you there to i want to point out to our audience, at the new chairman of the senate health committee, senator tom harkin, with the longest serving member of the house, and john dingell of michigan, and the chairman of the energy and commerce committee, and relaxed and of california. julie rovner come -- henry waxman of california. julie rovner, you are watching this as well.
what are they thinking? guest: it is an important day for the democrats and republicans. people are going to be watching. congress is not doing well in the polls in general these days. people really don't like the bickering on either side. congress is really seen as being unable to do the public's business. i think they really need to show themselves to be something -- to cease to be something other than a -- this needs to be something other than a slugfest. i think there is a lot on the line. it is not just for the president, it is for these members of congress in the room to really show that they can get something accomplished here. and not be, you know -- that they can disagree without being disagreeable. that is going to be tricky. host: senator chuck schumer entering the room, along with max baucus. ohio, good morning to you, sir.
caller: hi. i have a problem with the politics of this, from the republicans and democrats, to one side or the other -- and i am ended ended because of that, because i don't want to go to one side or the other -- i am an independent because of that, because i don't want to go to one side of the other . they should say, let's not to health care reform this way. let's do insurance reform first. that would take care of the costs that they say -- and i have a problem with. host: let me take up that point and ask julie rovner question -- is this health reform or medical insurance reform? guest: iis a little bit of both. a lot of people have been asking, what is the one thing that everybody agrees on? one thing that everybody agrees
on is stopping discrimination based on pre-existing conditions. we actually did this in 1996, the health insurance portability and accountability act, for people with group health insurance. if you go from one job to another job, they cannot discriminate against you if you have had a group insurance and your old job, and they cannot discriminate against you based on a pre-existing condition in your new job. that is only if you go from job to job. if you are in the individual market, they can breed that is where the big problem is. -- if you are in the individual market, they can. that is where the big problem is. they can wait until you get sick. but why should you buy insurance unless you need it? the way to protect against that is to have the mandate, to require everybody to have health insurance. that is what they have in massachusetts. the problem with that is what do you do for people for whom it
would be too big an economic burden? well, you have to give them subsidies, which is again what they do in massachusetts. how'd you do that? you have to raise the money. you want this to be revenue- neutral, don't you? so you have to raise some taxes, probly, to make revenue neutral how you do that? he will probably have to find money elsewhere in the health- care system. he talked about reducing health- care costs elsewhere. now you are not just talking about insurance reform, but reconfiguring big parts of the health insurance system. that is where you end up with a fairly large bill and that is where they ended up with. if you just start with banning discrimination based on pre- existing conditions, eu end up with basically the bill that they have ended up with. that is how they got there. host: entering just a moment ago, kathleen sebelius, who, as a side out, is the only daughter to serve a -- as a side note, is
the only daughter to serve as governor. she was governor of kansas. she is now the secretary of health and human services. the way the room looks is that you have the members of congress around the table, and directly behind them are staff members that were invited, so in total there will be about 50 to 60 people in the room. the configuration last thursday and friday was designed to be a u-shaped table, and now you can see that it is set up as a rectangular table with a center open. negotiations beginning in about seven or eight minutes. live coverage on c-span at3. you can listen to it on c-span radio or watch it on line at c- span.org. prime-time coverage on the other is hispanic networks. susan is joining us from fort worth, texas -- prime-time coverage on the other is c-span network. susan is joining us from fort worth, texas.
caller: i don't know where this lady is coming from about the republicans not being involved in anything. i have watched, as a retired person, hours and hours of democrats and republicans in these different committees. unfortunately, i cannot afford c-span three -- c-span3. burgess is my representative, and i looked up on open secrets, and it is amazing how much he and cassidy get from the health-care industry. i went to one of the town hall meetings, and the number one topic of conversation was out to undermine obama. i watched yesterday about toyota, and is representative phil gingrey from a georgia, i
believe -- anyway, he wants to be able to sue for the automotive industry, but forget it for people who have had maybe the wrong blood taken off or kidney taken off. -- wrong leg taken off or kidney taken off three they don't want government interfering in health care. why should they interfere in the health-care industry? host: let me get back to a point from donna -- again, you can watch it on line at c-span.org, and other cable networks will be carrying the proceedings today. and depending on what the house and senate do, we will show you some of the proceedings as well. and we will have prime-time coverage this evening on the other c-span at networks.
ohio, good morning to you. republican line. caller: good morning. thank you for taking my call. it seems to me that the health care bill is setting us up, just like with the housing, how that debacle and, by making them take the risks, a high risk folks, and they were forced take these loans that they knew were no good, but the government was kind of forcing them to do it. and then that blew up in our face. you can say that this is like with the preconditions sathing, that this is what is all about, so that there is -- you now. it seems to me that that is going to set us up the same way. it is going to blow up in our face. host: we are looking at kathleen sebelius and the speaker of the house, nancy pelosi. julie rovner, once this has
concluded, where does the issue go from here? guest: there is every indication that unless there is some breakthrough, the democrats will go off to work on budget reconciliation, which is the way they will get a bill through without republican support. to avoid a filibuster in the senate, it would need only 51 votes, as opposed to 60. all are ignoring is that it would probably require -- what people are ignoring is that it would probably require to past the house bill. there is almost as much tension between the house democrats and senate democrats. there is a lot of mistrust there. it will be interesting watching the body language between the house democrats and senate democrats as between the democrats and republicans. there is going to be a bill, they pretty much have to pass the senate bill, and then they can move on to the reconciliation bill that will enact some of the fixes, some of
the compromises that they will work out between the house and senate on the ways they want to change the senate bill to get what they want to get that would essentially be in the final health care bill. that is certainly the expectation of what happens next. host: we are three to four minutes away from the start of the session. members of the top seeded treacly behind them in blair house -- members of the staff seated directly behind them in blair house. the president and vice president, we were told yesterday, walking across the street. it is a chilly, windy day, but no snow in washington, d.c., today. andrew is joining us from seattle. good morning to you. caller: thank you very much for the opportunity. i would wish i were in the room with the folks today during the summit. i have some things i would like to say to them in person.
it comes from a personal perspective, but i hear from a lot of other people. i lost my job in december. i continued my private insurance. i would love the public option. i am having to bar somebody else's antibiotics for an infection, which is crazy, but that is what i am forced to doing. i don't think the senate and house members are really inspired to do anything productive on this whole issue. guest: there are so many people who really, really want the congress to act. this has been mentioned before this money, that the kaiser family foundation poll came out just this week showing that if congress does not act, 50% of the people say they will be disappointed -- 58% of the people say they will be disappointed are angry. congress has tried to grapple with this, but it has gotten so bogged down in the politics between the democrats and republicans, between the democrats in the house and the democrats in the senate.
people are very mistrustful and angry. you go back home and dark and enormous amount of people who really need something to happen -- you go back home and there are an enormous amount of people who really need something to happen on health care -- host: we are looking at the speaker of the house and the senate democratic leader, and much of the president makes his way from across a very short driveway from between the white house and blair house. guest: i think the president relishes formats like this. i think that is why he did it. he is really good in these situations. but this is pretty high stakes. it is going to be a long day, and there is going to be a lot going on. but i think he is looking forward to it. host: julie rovner from national public radio, thank you very much for joining us. guest: your welcome. -- you're welcome